Okay, how about this: outside a few people attending Railvolution conferences (and sorry, Minneapolis hosted in 2014), nobody travels anywhere to see a city's streetcar.
Story time: Last year (when I still lived in Stevens Square) my mother brought her lab (6? people) from Indiana to attend a major conference at the Convention Center. I met up with them impromptu for dinner one night at Nicollet and 15th, and asked what they wanted to eat; they said Thai. There's nothing obvious in walking distance (Lotus doesn't count), so I told them "there's a great Thai restaurant [Krungthep], but we'd have to take public transit to get there."
One person immediately asked, "ooh, could we take the train?"
"No, we'd have to take the bus. It's a short ride, though!"
Mentioning the word "bus" was enough to get everyone shaking their heads. I don't think "but it's an arterial rapid-transit bus, it's kind of like a train!" would have gotten us there.
Uh wouldn't it share ROW north of Washington and through NE? Remember ye ole Toyota Matrix blocking the streetcar in the Northeast rendering we've seen. Also, may be more comfortable than arterial buses, but will it run anywhere close to as frequent?
Frequency probably depends on funding, so who knows? They were shooting for every 7.5 minutes.
The lane isn't exclusive N of Washington, but it's designed in such a way (left lane on one-ways, center on the bridge) that it could be converted pretty painlessly if the political will exists. There are some obvious chokepoints (Washington to the bridge, left turns at University and 4th), but even "transit and left turns" wouldn't be that bad, relatively speaking.
2. Given said delays in Nic-Central streetcar and the fact that there will be zero appetite for ripping up the Mall again (even a little bit!) any time soon, the City really ought to open an honest dialogue about building the Washington-Broadway link first. It would serve the red hot North Loop (which has pretty weak transit), and West Broadway, which would obviously be a massive boost to investment in that area. This makes sense on equity considerations alone. I'm not saying Broadway should definitely be built first, but I am saying it should seriously be considered (cost-benefit analysis, racial/geographic equity, etc.)
Fair enough, but where would that go? A line that just kept going east on Washington Ave into the Mill District would be okay, but it wouldn't serve the heart of downtown well at all.